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What's new for winter 2023-24

November 6, 2023

Media Use: Photos

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (November 6, 2023) – Another season of color tours, scenic chairlift rides and pumpkin carving has come to an end, and at Crystal Mountain that only means one thing – winter is practically here! And with a new season comes new features and amenities to make this season better than the last.

This year, Crystal Mountain guests will have quicker access to the slopes, lessons they can take home with them, and simply more reasons to enjoy winter in Benzie County. Here’s what’s new this winter at Crystal Mountain:

Increased Snowmaking: With the addition of five new snow guns, Crystal Mountain now boasts a total of 177 snowmaking machines. The new Super Puma Snowmakers, from Michigan-based SMI, are exceptionally efficient, producing even more snow than their predecessors, ensuring optimal skiing and snowboarding conditions throughout the season.

“What we love about the Super Pumas is the snow quality and the throw,” said Mike Cutler, director of Mountain Operations. “Our goal is to create more snow, more efficiently, and by investing in these automated, high-tech snow guns, our snowmakers can be strategic about when and where to cover the slopes.”

Enhanced Grooming: The newest addition to the groomer fleet is the PistenBully 400. This state-of-the-art groomer is not only designed to increase productivity but also has the cleanest exhaust technology, meeting Tier 4 Final emission standards.

“Our entire grooming fleet now consists of Tier 4 Final groomers, which exceed the EPA emission standards,” said Cutler. “These newer machines help reduce our carbon footprint because the Tier 4 groomer releases 20 times less the emissions than an older Tier 1 generation groomer.”

Freedom Pass: For the very first time, Crystal Mountain is proud to offer the Freedom Pass to Premier Passholders. This special passholder perk unlocks the freedom to explore more than 20 resorts across the country, including nearby Caberfae Peaks, for three days with zero blackout dates. This is in addition to the already established reciprocal deal at Mount Bohemia, plus passholders enjoy discounts on lessons, lodging, retail and Crystal Spa.

Introducing Flaik: Crystal Mountain is taking a significant step towards improving kids’ learning experience on the slopes. “Flaik” utilizes a GPS tag that students will wear during their lessons which allows snowsports instructors to track their progress, and it also gives instructors and parents more peace of mind knowing where the kids are on the slopes. Plus, student progress reports and satisfaction surveys will be included in the “Re-live Your Lesson” follow-up messaging.

“We’re excited about implementing Flaik for Crystal’s Snowsports school because it allows kids and their parents to 're-live the lesson' even after the session is over,” said Chris Fisher, director of Snowsports. “The GPS function tracks which runs the kids take during their lesson so when the kids return to the slopes with their parents, they know which runs they’re comfortable on. Plus, it allows our instructors to know where the student left off and where to pick up in teaching when the student returns for another lesson.”

Also new this year, guests can reserve and pay for their lessons online in advance, saving them time at check-in when they arrive at the Mountain Adventure Zone.

Igloo Dining: For those looking for a unique dining experience, there will be outdoor igloos available for reservation at the Wild Tomato. The 12-foot diameter domes can fit up to eight people inside to enjoy a special selection of beverages, small plates and sweet treats – including a s’mores kit complete with mini tabletop fire pit. Blankets and a faux fireplace heater keep it extra cozy while overlooking Barr Park and the ice skating rink.

Expanded Backyard Station: For those participating in Kids Group Lessons, the Backyard Station has been upgraded, now twice its previous size. Just look for the buildings that resemble a train near the Backyard chairlift and that’s where Snowsports students can step inside, warm up and refuel for more learning on the slopes.

Paperless Rental Process: Fewer lines and quicker access to the slopes – that’s what the new paperless rental process will provide to Crystal Mountain guests. Those who reserve rentals online in advance will get the best price, and when they arrive at the resort they will go straight to a rental tech who will have their information. Those who don’t buy in advance will simply use the laptop at Tickets and Rental to submit their information and receive a barcode to hand to rental techs.

“Skier and rider information and waivers will be captured digitally, so guests will spend less time filling out paperwork and more time on the slopes,” said Megan Farfsing, Tickets and Rental manager. “Plus, we’ve expanded our rental fleet this year with more skis, snowboards, helmets, poles and boots!”

For the best deal on lift tickets and rental equipment, purchase online in advance.

Cross-Country Webcam: Know before you go! Crystal Mountain is adding to its fleet of resort webcams with a new live camera at the Cross-Country Center. This is a popular way guests can see for themselves whether or not there’s snow on the ground, if it’s busy, or if there’s a special event happening such as the Fat Chance Fat Tire bike race or Airsoft Biathlon.

New Art Park Sculpture: Winter is a beautiful time of year to explore Michigan Legacy Art Park. The Art Park is home to 50+ sculptures and installations, including the newest addition “Gateway to Black Eden.” The more than 15-foot tall steel artwork, designed by Detroit artist M. Saffell Gardner, is an expression and reflection of the African American lake resort experience in America before the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965. USA Today recognized Michigan Legacy Art Park (No. 5) among the 10Best Sculpture Parks in the United States.

Every year, the goal is to open for skiing and riding around Thanksgiving. Of course, natural snowfall is the best snowfall, but if Mother Nature doesn’t deliver the white stuff, Crystal snowmaking crews can fire up the snow guns when the temperature, humidity level, and barometric pressure are all just right for a number of consecutive days.

As always, the latest weather and trail conditions can be found on the Crystal Mountain Snow Report.

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About Crystal Mountain:
Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options.
Media Contact:
Brittney Primeau                             
Director of Communications
D: 231.378.2091


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